Facebook’s Plan to Dominate Video? Pay Left-Leaning News Organizations to Live Stream

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By Emily Zanotti | 2:25 pm, June 22, 2016

Facebook has rolled out its new push for Facebook Live, the social network’s most lucrative scheme yet. A big part of the initiative involves paying partners to create video on the platform.

And among its first batch of handpicked partners for Live, which include media companies and celebrities, one thing seems to be in great supply: an abundance of left- leaning media organizations and individuals whose worldview mirrors that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has inked deals with 140 media companies and celebrities to use its Facebook Live app to create content that Facebook will ship to millions of users. In return, Facebook is paying these same media companies and celebrities almost $50 million.

Thanks to Facebook’s business development team, you’ll now be able to do everything from take live meditation classes with Deepak Chopra to hear Gordon Ramsay rant in real time. You can witness FC Barcelona’s workouts and help Kevin Hart work on his material.

And you can also get your news on the go from a variety of liberal sources overwhelmingly dominating the inaugural round of Facebook Live, which the social media giant says it plans on making into a news network for the new millennium.

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You can now get news on the go from avowedly liberal outlets like The New York TimesHuffington PostVox and Vice—but not from Fox News. The Drudge Report and The Blaze aren’t going to be earning checks from Facebook for broadcasting their content, but Al Jazeera will be. And while NPR will be broadcasting live, The Rush Limbaugh Show is noticeably absent.

Three of the top new partners, Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post and Now This Media, were all birthed by the liberal entrepreneur and major Democratic donor Ken Lerer, at whose New York City apartment President Obama attended a fundraiser earlier this month. Not to be outdone, Hearst (owner of unabashedly left-leaning Cosmopolitan) and Vox Media make no secret of their leftward leanings, while outlets such as the New York Times, NPR and CNN have long left behind any pretense of objectivity.

The Wall Street Journal did not specify whether any right-leaning organizations were offered the deals and turned them down.

Facebook has faced a wave of criticism for the partisanship that colors its path to media dominance. After launching its “Trending Topics” app, whistleblowers accused Facebook of bias against right-leaning and conservative news outlets. The bias was so evident that Facebook held meetings with top conservative journalists and representatives from right-leaning news organizations.

Just last Monday, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced down an angry group of shareholders at Facebook’s annual meeting, with investors demanding to know why the social media platform had ignored accusations of political bias for years.

Facebook is, at its core, a private company, and can censor and allow what it wants, but, as investors mentioned in their speeches to Facebook’s executive team on Monday, shareholders and consumers would prefer Facebook be honest about its leanings—and its plans.

Facebook Live has already proven to be a video powerhouse. According to WSJ, users watch more than 100 million hours of video on Facebook per day. And quality is, apparently, immaterial: a 45-minute Facebook Live video of Buzzfeed employees exploding a watermelon has been viewed over 100 million times. The platform also helps generate ad revenue for Facebook, which gets about 20% of all digital media advertising in the US.

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